Apr. 16, 1963 - Dr. Timothy Leary, the Harvard psychologist who believes in the ability of certain drugs to free men’s minds, announced in Los Angeles today he is founding a research institute in Mexico to pursue his work. Confident that drugs such as LSD-25, psilocybin, and mescaline can increase brain function to levels previously achieved by only a few, Dr. Leary said he is gambling his professional reputation on this conviction. He told reporters at the Statler Hilton Hotel he is leaving Harvard on July 1 after being told by the administration to give up his experimental studies. He believes the “consciousness-expanding” capacity of the drugs will enable man to see himself and the universe in a new light and to make superior mental achievements. He cited studies showing that this alleged insight-giving property of the drugs has helped alcoholics overcome their habit, addicts to give up narcotics, and hardened criminals to gain a more socially desirable attitude. In addition, the power of concentration and increased brain function afforded by the drugs, he said, have given so-called normal persons a perspective akin to a religious experience. Some scientists, including some who have tested LSD experimentally, believe that Leary’s enthusiasm for the powers of the drug is based merely on the claims of subjects who have taken it and that the claims cannot be proven objectively.
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